Karen Hurd, Vice President of National Franchise Development for Sperry Van Ness International Corporation, recently sat down with Laura Salome, CCIM, Managing Director of Sperry Van Ness/Fortune Real Estate out of El Paso, Texas. Karen is the host of the Sperry Van Ness (SVN) CEO Roundtable Webinar and invited Laura to join the June Roundtable discussion as a guest speaker. Below is what Laura had to say about SVN.
Laura, Please tell me about yourself, SVN/Fortune Real Estate and how you came to Sperry Van Ness.
I joined Sperry Van Ness two years ago in December. My father has had Fortune Real Estate for 40 years and when I joined him full time, I knew we were was missing something….I was searching for something bigger than what our little local firm could accomplish. I wanted bigger and national deals, and I knew that an affiliation with a national flag was the answer. I spent 13 years in California and remembered that Sperry Van Ness was a well recognized brand among a few others. So I decided to call a few. In an exhausting interviewing process of several companies, I ultimately chose Sperry Van Ness because it was a national CRE firm where the people make the company.
What did you find different about our SVN Brand versus the other firms you were talking to, and what have you found since you joined?
The model and the culture is different than other models, in that the environment at SVN is much more entrepreneurial in nature. Of course, we want to stay consistent in our look and there are franchise policies to which we must adhere, but it is very much MY business. Being affiliated with SVN has empowered me to grow into the direction I want to go. I have felt empowered since the day I joined and continue to feel that way. There is a high level of professionalism that comes with the Sperry Van Ness name. There is a certain culture within this organization that is contagious. I joined the group shortly before a national sales meeting which was in Miami. That trip reaffirmed that I had made the right decision. The friends and colleagues I met on that trip I still talk to and work on deals together.
What do you find working with other SVN Advisors in other markets?
Collaboration is the key component to get the most you want out of this franchise. Each week I try to talk to at least one SVN colleague either by phone, text, or email…or personal visit, even when I travel. I am a bit of a generalist here in El Paso and partnering up with experts in other cities has most definitely won listings for me. Mark Alexander from Florida, who is on our Medical Product Council, and I joined forces a little over a year ago on a medical building. I would not have gotten that listing without Mark’s expertise in medical office. Mark prepared a colorful slide presentation showing the physician medical investment cap rates and the SVN national reach and we won the listing.
This week we just signed a new $2 million dollar listing for a NM Nursery and I partnered with Tim House in Albuquerque. It was my relationship with a banker here in El Paso that started the lead, but it was the fact that I told him I would partner with a SVN NM colleague that got us the listing. The client felt comfortable that he was getting a local boots on the ground with a national “army” behind me. It’s fun to partner, and clients feel that we have “reach” , “national appeal” and that we are a “unit”. This SVN fraternity is a very strong selling point to win listings.
The National Sales Call is like the backbone of SVN — the SVN Difference. It’s a 30 minute national sales call held every Monday morning that highlights recent sales made, and Advisors pitch their properties for sale. Promoting a client’s listing on these calls is a key selling point when I compete for a listing. No other firm offers these calls! It’s rare that I don’t get on one of these calls.
How useful have you found the CRE tech tools, systems and platforms offered by SVN?
The tech tools within the company are efficient and streamline marketing efforts. Each time I need to do a proposal or put a new listing online, I jump on BuildOut which syndicates real time to multiple commercial search engines with a single point of entry automatically. Our brochures look consistent and professional. It’s very simple to use and my clients are happy.
Client Look I’ve used from the beginning. It has the ability to categorize your contact by type. This feature I find very useful. If I want to narrow my marketing efforts to “retail developers” or “multifamily”, I can do so. Virtual Assistant is another very useful feature of Client Look that enters contacts into the system. You can do this with a phone call while you are driving or even snapping a photo of a business card and emailing it to them. All of this syncs to your phone and iPad which is great!
SVN Resource Portal is the center of information gathering and posting. There I can blog on the SVN blog, create postcards for marketing, customize newsletters, see the calendar of events, or just log on to my email. It’s colorful and easy to navigate. In today’s world where speed and simplicity is coveted, this tool fits right in.
What SVN Product Councils do you participate in regularly?
There are 14 product councils within the company that are lead by veterans and experts in that asset class type and I am involved in several. Once a month or so, there are product council calls where ideas are shared, challenges are discussed, and deals are made. I make it a point to participate each week on the 15 minute Single Tenant Net Lease one that happens right before the Monday Morning Call. I like it because Peter Colvin creates an environment where everyone feels comfortable to share a quick thought and I always hang up learning something new and it helps create value for my clients, especially the 1031 exchange clients.
Bottom line, the tech systems and tools are some of the best available in the industry, and I leverage them all so I can be more efficient, visible and productive in my business.
What do you like best about SVN?
What I’ve realized is that it’s the people within SVN that make the company. I’m the kind of person that works best in a collaborative environment and I like to be known within in the company. SVN is a national CRE company where collaboration thrives — it’s like a family. Clients’ interests are ALWAYS placed above everything else and I like that because reputation is very important to me. If I can ever help anyone on the call, I’m available anytime for help, advice, deal making, market insight in El Paso or SVN. Happy to be a resource. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 915.474.0306.
To view the most recent Sperry Van Ness CEO Roundtable Webinar, click here.
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